Ecuador is firmly on the global ecotourism map thanks to the Galápagos Islands, which, while a compelling destination, are by no means the only reason to visit this country on the western coast of South America.Ecuador straddles the Equator, and encompasses an incredible range of habitats, from pristine Amazon rainforest to Andean highlands, with mangrove swamps, cloud forests, and jagged islands thrown in for good measure. This richness of ecosystems makes Ecuador the most biodiverse nation on Earth, and it also includes some remarkable oddities.If you visit the Andes, you’ll likely encounter the vicuña, a relative of the llama which produces the world’s finest wool – and the shearers have to catch them in the wild to obtain it. Then there are Julia butterflies which drink the tears of turtles and caimans, and marine iguanas who enjoy nothing more than a dip in the Pacific. With the country’s constitution actually recognising the rights of nature, there is every reason to be optimistic about the future of all the weird and wonderful wildlife of Ecuador.While you’re in the mountains, you can visit the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the centre of the planet (the Chimborazo volcano). Back down at ground level, spend time browsing through the Otavalo market, where you can pick up beautifully colorful woven textiles. Ponchos are a popular choice when the cold mountain winds start to blow!The contrast with Yasuni National Park couldn’t be more marked. A stay in an eco-lodge here lets you immerse yourself in almost-untouched parts of the world’s largest rainforest, and you’ll be blown away by the sheer numbers and variety of orchids, butterflies and hummingbirds. This region is also home to tribes of indigenous people, some of whom are believed to still be uncontacted. Your time in Ecuador wouldn’t be complete without going back in time and exploring the capital, Quito, and particularly its Old Town. Then it’s time to board your small cruise ship and follow the path of the sun across the ocean to the Galápagos Islands, known as the laboratory of evolution and perhaps one of the most remarkable wildlife experiences you can have anywhere.

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Travel Information


Electrical sockets (outlets) in Ecuador are very similar to the electrical outlets found in the United States and Canada, and if your appliance has a North…

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CurrencyUS Dollar (USD; symbol US$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of US$100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of US$1 and 50,…

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It is advisable to drink only bottled or sterilised water in Ecuador. Avoid unpasteurised dairy products. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables…

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Ecuador’s geography presents a variety of distinct microclimates, which are largely determined by elevation. They are divided into 4 main zones:The…

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Ecuador is a small country and internal flight times are usually less than one hour, making air travel a quick and easy way to get around. Most flights…

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Lightweight natural fabrics; rainwear in subtropical areas. Warmer clothes are needed in upland areas. Make sure that you have good-quality, well-broken…

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Please consult your health-care provider 4-6 weeks prior to travel to ensure you are receiving all required vaccinations and that the medication has…

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Ecuador is a generally safe country but crime remains a widespread problem. Pick-pocketing, robbery, and hotel room theft are the most common crimes. Use…

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U.S. citizens do not require a visa for stays under 90 days. Non U.S. citizens should consult with your local embassy.

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Language:Spanish is the official language in Ecuador but English is widely spoken in tourist areas including hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.National…

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Galapagos Islands

This archipelago of volcanic islands lies in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles to the west of the mainland. They were famously visited by Charles Darwin,…

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At an altitude of some 9 500ft, Quito is one of the world’s highest capital cities. It’s also one of the most interesting to explore, with…

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